Clientelism as an alternative voting rationale in Latin-America

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This research analyzes the existence of an alternative voting rationale as a consequence of clientelism for citizens in Latin America. For representation in an ideal system, it is important that citizens vote based on a policy-based rationale and political parties compete on policy issues. This article hypothesizes that clientelism creates an alternative voting rationale for citizens, which in turn hinders the voting behavior based on individual political perceptions. This alternative rationale is created through the offering of a benefit by a political party in exchange for the vote of the citizen, which is controlled through machine politics. Furthermore, it is hypothesized that in countries with clientelist political parties, the offering of a material benefit in turn means that the voting rationale of individual left-right placement decreases in importance. These hypotheses are tested using multinomial logistic regression analyses using data covering nine Latin American countries. The results show that citizens in the researched countries do not seem to vote using an alternative voting rationale of clientelism with the exception of Paraguay. Furthermore, the importance of left-right placement does not seem to decrease with the offering of a benefit in exchange for the citizens’ vote.
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